Enthusiasts fond of paperback-sized, low-power PCs rejoice: VIA has unveiled a small-form-factor "builder kit" specifically designed for hobbyists. Known as the ARTiGO Pico-ITX Builder Kit A1000, the kit includes a 1GHz VIA C7 processor, a VIA VX700 chipset with integrated graphics, 100Mbps Ethernet, high-definition audio, four USB ports, and a teeny enclosure. Users are free to add their choice of memory—up to 1GB of DDR2-533 RAM—and hard drive—2.5" IDE models only.
A 1GHz VIA C7 chip won't exactly let you play Crysis, but this kit's attractive aspect is in its footprint: the enclosure measures just 5.9" x 4.3" x 1.8" (15 x 11 x 4.5 cm), and VIA quotes a weight of only 1.14 lbs (520 g) for an "average system." In fact, the ARTiGO is so small that VIA says you can even slip into a standard desktop PC's 5.25" drive bay. Power efficiency isn't half bad, either, with VIA quoting power draw of 15W while idling and 20W under load for a complete ARTiGO-based system.
The ARTiGO Pico-ITX Builder Kit A1000 is scheduled to become available December 14 in the United States at a recommended retail price of $300. It will be available from online retailers Avnet, EPROM Computer Systems, Fry's Electronics, Logic Supply and Ma Lab / Ewiz in the United States. LinITX.com and Mini-ITX.com will also sell it in the United Kingdom, although our British friends can probably expect to pay quite a bit more than $300.